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News and updates on the coronavirus for Friday, January 14, 2022

The latest coronavirus news in Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

5:59 am: Homeless and vulnerable people in British Columbia and Alberta have been approached with offers of payment to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by those who attempted to fraudulently obtain a vaccination card.

Vancouver Coastal Health said Thursday that those approached had been asked to get the vaccine while falsely using that person’s name and information.

“This behavior is deplorable and we are disappointed that anyone who takes advantage of vulnerable people in this way to try to bypass the process of obtaining a BC vaccine card,” the health authority said in a statement.

“Future cases of fraud can be referred to local law enforcement authorities for follow-up. “

5:59 am: An imminent return to classroom learning has prompted some Manitoba parents to book early COVID-19 follow-up sessions for their young children, but public health officials say it’s worth the wait.

Canada and Manitoba, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the Manitoba Pediatric Vaccine Advisory Committee, initially recommended an interval of eight weeks or 56 days between the first and second injection for youth ages 5 to 11 years old, the last population to be eligible for a shot. The above people have recently reaffirmed their support for this time, following the review of directions and consideration of Omicron.

With that in mind, and with November 24 being the first day pediatric doses have been given in Manitoba, the second doses will start increasing later this month.

5:58 am: Winnipeg schools are asking families to agree to the distribution of rapid tests to K-6 students only if they plan to use them and return unused kits they do not intend to use, in order to meet the high demand and the limited supply.

Before classes close at the end of 2021, the Manitoba government announced the launch of an optional back-to-school testing program that would allow elementary students to receive rapid antigen tests.

The province said it has ordered more than 90,000 kits, each containing five tests, from the federal government – enough to ensure that every student enrolled in Kindergarten to Grade 6 in a public school or administered by a division of the First Nations in Manitoba can receive a kit.

Officials did not confirm on Wednesday how many kits were obtained and distributed to schools.

5:57 am: China further tightened its anti-pandemic measures in Beijing and across the country on Friday as scattered epidemics continued ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympics in just over two weeks.

The actions appear to reflect nervousness over a possible increase in the number of cases ahead of the Beijing Games.

Beijing has ordered children in international schools to be tested from next week and banned airline passengers who have passed through a third point. Citizens are told to travel only when absolutely necessary, with no guarantee that they will be allowed to return if it turns out that they have visited a city or region where an epidemic has occurred.

The city of Tianjin, about an hour from the capital, ordered a third round of mass tests to begin on Saturday morning and end within 24 hours.

A port and manufacturing hub of 14 million people, Tianjin is one of half a dozen cities where the government is imposing closures and other restrictions as part of a policy to track down every case of the virus.

Its proximity to Beijing is of particular concern, and authorities have cut all travel links between it and the host city of the Olympics following the discovery of 126 cases in recent days, all apparently of the highly contagious omicron variant.

5h54: Israel has administered a 4th dose of the vaccine to more than 500,000 people, the health ministry said on Friday.

Israel began administering second boosters to the most vulnerable at the end of last month and then began offering them to anyone over the age of 60.

Authorities hope the additional boosters will moderate a wave of infections caused by the omicron variant. Figures from the Ministry of Health show that Israel currently has some 260,000 active cases. But only 289 patients are listed as seriously ill, much less than in previous waves.

Israel was among the first countries to roll out vaccines a year ago and began widely offering third doses last summer in a bid to contain the Delta variant. Almost half of the population has received at least one booster.

5:53 am: Tens of thousands of devout Hindus, led by monastery leaders and ash-stained ascetics, plunged into the frigid waters of the Ganges in northern India on Friday, despite rising COVID-19 infections in the country.

Hindu pilgrims gathered at Sangam, the confluence of three rivers – the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati – in the town of Prayagraj, 200 km (124 miles) northeast of Lucknow, the capital of Lucknow. State of Uttar Pradesh, to participate in the Magh Mela festival, one of the holiest pilgrimages of Hinduism. They bathed in the waters of the Ganges, a ritual according to Hindus that will wash away their sins and free them from the cycle of death and rebirth.

A similar rally at a Hindu festival last year in the Himalayan town of Haridwar in neighboring Uttarakhand helped spread the delta variant that ravaged the country and made India l one of the most affected countries in the world. Epidemiologists have described the festival as a “mass event”.

5:52 am: To hide or not to hide is an issue Italy addressed at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic with a vigorous ‘yes’. Now, the unique epicenter of the pandemic in Europe is hoping even stricter mask rules will help it beat the latest wave of infections.

Other countries are taking similar steps as the more transmissible – but apparently less virulent – variant of omicron spreads across the continent.

As intensive care units in Italian hospitals quickly fill up with mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, the government announced on Christmas Eve that FFP2 masks – which offer users more protection than cloth masks or surgical – must be worn on public transport, including planes, trains, ferries and subways.

This is even if all passengers in Italy, as of this week, must be vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID-19. FFP2s must also now be worn in theaters, cinemas and sporting events, indoors or outdoors, and cannot be removed even for their wearers to eat or drink.

5:51 am: Cambodia began a fourth round of coronavirus vaccinations on Friday in response to the omicron variant, with high-risk groups among the first to receive the additional boosters.

Frontline medical staff and members of the armed forces were among those lining up in hospitals and clinics. Government ministers, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, also received booster doses on Friday.

Hun Sen called on all Cambodians to be fully immunized, including a booster, saying on his Facebook page that this is the only way to ensure their families and communities are protected from COVID-19. A campaign for people to get their third shot is still ongoing.

5h50: Two members of the US Marine Corps have been granted religious exemptions from the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate, the first of its kind since the mandate was introduced last summer.

Officials say 95% of active-duty Marines – the military branch with the most COVID-19 vaccine refractory numbers – are vaccinated against COVID. About 97% of the 1.3 million active-duty military personnel in the United States have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Thousands of U.S. soldiers in the military have requested religious exemptions from the vaccine, but none had been approved until this week. There were 3,350 requests for religious accommodation in the Marines.

“The Marine Corps recognizes COVID-19 as a preparedness issue. The rate at which the disease is transmitted between individuals has increased the risk to our Marines and the Marine Corps mission, ”Marine Corps spokesperson Major Jim Stenger said Thursday in a written statement.

He added that 88% of Marines hospitalized with complications from the virus were not vaccinated.

Friday 5:49 am: South Korea will slightly ease its coronavirus collection restrictions starting next week, but will continue to maintain a 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants and entertainment venues as it braces for a possible surge in induced infections. by the contagious variant of omicron.

Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said on Friday that the four-person limit for private social gatherings between fully vaccinated people would be increased to six for at least three weeks from Monday.

While officials have acknowledged their frustration and fatigue over extended restrictions on viruses and damage to small businesses, they say they could not afford to ease social distancing rules further when the country could facing a huge wave of cases in the coming weeks as the omicron continues to spread.

Read Thursday’s coronavirus news.